World Cup Homepage | View Group Tables | Week 1 | Week 2


1-Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Portsmouth) Born: 15.8.75
Japan's first-choice goalkeeper since impressing in France four years ago. Played a key role in Japan's Asian Cup triumph in 2000 with a series of fine saves against Saudi Arabia in the final. Joined Portsmouth from Yokohama F-Marinos last October but has lost his place to veteran Dave Beasant.

12-Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya Grampus Eight) Born: 15.4.76
Briefly took over from Kawaguchi as Japan's number one in 2000 until a jaw injury kept him out of the squad for the Sydney Olympics and the Asian Cup in Lebanon. Brave and solid on crosses, Narazaki is likely to be the main back-up to Kawaguchi.

23-Hitoshi Sogahata (Kashima Antlers) Born: 2.8.79
Established himself as first-choice for J-League champions Kashima Antlers and made his Japan debut in the 1-1 draw with Italy in Saitama in November. Good shot-stopper and confident on crosses but likely to be third-choice at the World Cup.

6-Toshihiro Hattori (Jubilo Iwata) Born: 23.9.73

Japan's "Mr Reliable", the versatile Hattori is equally comfortable in defence or midfield and has been a permanent fixture in the Japan side since Philippe Troussier took over in October 1998.

4-Ryuzo Morioka (Shimizu S-Pulse) Born: 7.10.75
Captain of the Asian Cup-winning side in 2000, Morioka is arguably the best covering defender in Japan. An unflappable player who reads the game expertly, drawing comparisons with former Italian World Cup defender Franco Baresi.

17-Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (Gamba Osaka) Born: 7.2.77
Once a target of English premier league club West Ham United, Miyamoto captained Japan in a 1-1 draw against Italy in Saitama last November. A stylish defender who is comfortable on the ball, Miyamoto could be competing with Morioka to play in the centre of Japan's back three at the World Cup.

3-Naoki Matsuda (Yokohama F Marinos) Born: 14.3.77
A no-nonsense stopper who can play in the middle or the right of defence. Known for his short fuse, Matsuda was sent off on the opening day of the J-League season. A member of the Asian and Confederations Cup squads and set to feature at the World Cup.

2-Yutaka Akita (Kashima Antlers) Born: 6.8.70
A member of Japan's 1998 World Cup side, the 31-year-old has not played since being substituted in a 1-1 draw against Iran in September 1999. One of the hard men of the Japanese game, Akita could be in line for a recall after Hiroshima defender Kenichi Uemura was recently ruled out the World Cup with injury.

16-Koji Nakata (Kashima Antlers) Born: 9.7.79
Made his debut in a 1-0 defeat to Mexico in Hong Kong in 2000 but only cemented his place on the left of defence at the Confederations Cup. Plays in midfield for Japanese champions Kashima Antlers.


7-Hidetoshi Nakata (Parma) Born: 22.1.77
Japan's most recognisable player has failed to establish himself at Parma since his $26 million move from Italian champions AS Roma last July. Nakata inspired Japan to reach the final of the Confederations Cup last June but fell out with Troussier after returning for Roma's title run-in instead of playing in the final against France.

18-Shinji Ono (Feyenoord) Born: 27.9.79
Ono got his first taste of the World Cup as an 18-year-old when he came on as substitute against Jamaica at the 1998 finals. Has caught the eye since moving from Urawa Reds to Feyenoord last summer and came of age for Japan at the Confederations Cup in an unaccustomed wide midfield role. Dangerous from free-kicks around the penalty box.

5-Junichi Inamoto (Arsenal) Born: 18.9.79
Inamoto has yet to play a full match in the English premier league since joining Arsenal last July but is still expected to command a first-team place at the World Cup. Strong in the tackle and with an excellent range of passing, Inamoto will be one to watch for the co-hosts this summer.

8-Hiroaki Morishima (Cerezo Osaka) Born: 30.4.72
Difficult for defenders to pick up in his free role behind the forwards, Morishima has been a regular part of Troussier's plans since the Frenchman took charge of Japan. Was relegated to the J-League second division with Cerezo Osaka last season but remains a vital part of Japan's squad.

21-Kazuyuki Toda (Shimizu S-Pulse) Born: 30.12.77
Performed solidly on his debut against Canada last May. An unflinching competitor, Toda has been ever-present for Japan since their 1-0 win over Australia in the semifinal of the Confederations Cup. Likely to fill a defensive midfield role alongside Inamoto at the World Cup.

20-Tomokazu Myojin (Kashiwa Reysol) Born: 24.1.78
A key member of the 2000 Asian Cup squad, Myojin has lost his place in Japan's starting lineup to Toda but is still expected to be part of Troussier's plans this summer. Can play right wing-back or as a screening midfielder.

14-Alex (Shimizu S-Pulse) Born: 20.7.77
The Brazilian-born winger obtained Japanese citizenship last November in order to play at the World Cup. Alex gives Japan extra options on the left with his dribbling skills and the quality of his crosses but could be limited to a role as substitute this summer.    

15-Takashi Fukunishi (Jubilo Iwata) Born: 1.9.76
Returned to the international fold after two years in the wilderness last October and has been a regular fixture for Japan this year. Quick and strong in the tackle, likely to be used as cover for Inamoto or Toda in a defensive midfield role.

19-Mitsuo Ogasawara (Kashima Antlers) Born: 5.4.1979
Chosen ahead of Yokohama playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura because of his versatility and more combative style of play. Possesses excellent range of passing and dead-ball skills. Made his Japan debut in the 1-0 win over Ukraine in March.

22-Daisuke Ichikawa (Shimizu S-Pulse) Born: 14.5.1980
Convinced Troussier of his abilities with an outstanding display in the 2-0 win over Poland in March. Favourite to start at right wing-back in the World Cup. Loves to attack and is a superb crosser of the ball. The youngest member of the Japan squad.


13-Atsushi Yanagisawa (Kashima Antlers) Born: 27.5.77
Now established as Japan's top striker, Yanagisawa spurned a move to Italian club Perugia in December to stay at J-League champions Kashima Antlers. Possessing a lightning turn of pace and clinical in front of goal, Yanagisawa is a sought-after commodity in Europe after a spectacular volleyed goal against Italy in Saitama last November.

11-Takayuki Suzuki (Kashima Antlers) Born: 5.6.76
Suzuki marked his full debut with two goals as Japan beat African champions Cameroon 2-0 at the Confederations Cup. A physical presence in attack but Suzuki's game has a petulant side which surfaced five days later when he was sent off against Australia in the semifinal.

9-Akinori Nishizawa (Cerezo Osaka) Born: 18.6.76
Nishizawa has recently returned to his J-League club after struggling to make a mark at English premier league side Bolton Wanderers. Nishizawa was joint top scorer at the 2000 Asian Cup but will have his work cut out to make Japan's first 11 at the World Cup.

10-Masashi Nakayama (Jubilo Iwata) Born: 23.9.67
Nakayama, who scored Japan's first - and so far only - World Cup finals goal four years ago, continues to make a mockery of those who argue he is too long in the tooth for international football. Although unlikely to see much playing time at the World Cup, Nakayama remains a talismanic figure for Japan.